The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of ZZ Plants
ZZ plants have burst onto the houseplant scene recently and for good reason. Their luscious, shiny leaves make them a joy to look at, and they’re easy to care for. Even if you’re familiar with the ZZ plant’s gorgeous looks, have you ever thought about what this plant symbolizes? While the plant doesn’t hold much significance in ancient societies, it’s an integral part of Feng Shui. Plus, it’s tied to both stability and prosperity! Read on to learn more about the ZZ plant’s meaning and symbolism.
- The Symbolic Meaning of ZZ Plants – The Essentials
- About ZZ Plants
- The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of ZZ Plants
- Suitable Occasions for Gifting ZZ Plants
- ZZ Plant FAQs
- The Final Word
The Symbolic Meaning of ZZ Plants – The Essentials
ZZ plants carry the symbolic meaning of growth, prosperity, and stability. Their skyward-facing leaves symbolize upward mobility and the ability to improve. The plant’s easy-to-care-for nature means it symbolizes persistence and stability and is highly valued in Feng Shui practices.
About ZZ Plants
Family, Genus, and Taxonomy
The ZZ plant gains its name from its scientific name, Zamioculcas zamiifolia. It is the only species in the Zamioculcas family. This plant is also sometimes known as a Zanzibar gem.
The plant is a member of the Araceae family, also known as the arum family. Other members of this family include philodendrons, elephant ears, and jack-in-the-pulpit plants.
The genus name Zamioculcas refers to the plants’ similarities to the cycad family Zamia as well as its close relationship to the genus Colocasia.
The ZZ plant grows between one and two feet tall. The plant has numerous thick, fleshy petioles that are covered with waxy, ovular leaves. The leaves are so shiny sometimes people mistake them as fake!
These leaves point upwards, seeming to reach toward the sky. They also are evergreen, providing homes with year-round color.
While people keep the plant for its lush flowers, it also produces spade-shaped flowers similar to those of a peace lily.
Most ZZ plants have dark green leaves, but plant breeders have developed other cultivars in recent years. The ‘Raven’ ZZ plant has dark purple leaves that almost appear black.
History & Origins of ZZ Plants
ZZ plants are native to tropical regions in East Africa, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zanzibar. The plant has existed for thousands, if not millions, of years, giving it the distinction as a type of living fossil.
Although the ZZ plant has been around for so long, it was first described in European literature by George Loddiges in 1829. Its name changed a few times before it was classified as Zamioculcas zamiifolia in 1905.
It’s not clear when this plant made its way to other areas of the world. However, it started surging in popularity in the United States within the last 20 years.
The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of ZZ Plants
Although the ZZ plant has swelled in popularity recently, it doesn’t have much long-standing significance. It is not noted in Greek or Roman literature, nor did it have a specific meaning in Victorian times.
Use in Feng Shui
ZZ plants are valuable to those who seek to practice Feng Shui. The ZZ plant is known as a money magnet—a plant that can help attract wealth. While this applies to financial wealth, it also means that this plant may increase one’s good fortune regarding relationships, health, and more.
ZZ plants’ difficult-to-kill nature also makes it popular in Feng Shui since dead and dying plants are seen as symbols of bad luck. Just provide this plant with some basic care, and it will likely stay healthy and lush.
This steadfast nature also means the ZZ plant is tied to a long life and stability. And its skyward-facing leaves symbolize growth and upward mobility.
So, where should you place a ZZ plant with regard to Feng Shui? One option is to place the plant in a location that will block sha chi, a type of harmful energy. So if you feel a sharp corner or specific area of your home is filled with negativity, try placing a ZZ plant there.
If you’ve created a Bagua map of your home, you can use it to guide the placement of your ZZ plant. Try placing it in the wealth corner to increase prosperity or in the career area to support your work ambitions.
ZZ Plants and the Zodiac
Each star sign has become associated with various plants over the years. This is determined by a plant’s appearance, benefits, and ‘energy’ may relate to a zodiac sign’s characteristics.
For Pisces (February 19–March 20), the ZZ Plant is your official zodiac plant.
Pisces is a water sign, a great fit for the humidity-loving ZZ plant. Additionally, Pisces is a zodiac sign known for great compassion. They need a houseplant they can depend on, and the loyal ZZ plant is a perfect pick.
The ZZ Plant is known for tolerating low light levels, making it ideal for environments that aren’t conducive for other plants. They have a unique, zany appearance, which pairs well with Pisces’ creative personality.
The ZZ Plant is known for its symbolism of prosperity, making it the perfect choice for Pisces seeking some luck in their lives. Given this sign’s empathetic, generous nature, they deserve a plant that might bring a little luck their way.
Suitable Occasions for Gifting ZZ Plants
The ZZ plant’s symbolism and easy-to-care-for nature make it a good gift for the following occasions.
Moving to a new home can be exciting but also a bit stressful. You’re busy running around getting everything unpacked and settled while also trying to keep up with your daily responsibilities. That means the ZZ plant’s low-maintenance lifestyle will be appreciated.
Giving someone who just moved a ZZ plant will also help them start life in their new place on the right foot. Since the ZZ plant symbolizes prosperity and stability, it can help bring in positive energy.
Since the ZZ plant is tied to prosperity, it can also make an excellent gift for someone who has just started a new job. Not only will it send them wishes of financial wealth, but it can also wish them well with new coworkers and new starts.
And since the ZZ plant fits into various environments, it can thrive in a sunny office, dark cubicle, or wherever else they land.
After a Breakup
Breakups can be challenging. Plants can help let a friend know you care, but they can also overwhelm them with unwanted responsibility. That’s where the ZZ plant comes in.
The plant’s low-maintenance lifestyle won’t stress out someone who is recently single, but it will give them something to care for. Additionally, since the ZZ plant symbolizes prosperity, it will remind the receiver that good things are ahead.
Want to wish someone a prosperous year ahead? Then give them a ZZ plant! Even if you don’t know if the birthday person has a green thumb, you can feel confident they can care for a ZZ plant.
ZZ Plant Meaning FAQs:
What Do ZZ Plants Symbolize?
ZZ plants symbolize prosperity, stability, and upward growth. Their upward-facing leaves and stable growth form lead to this symbolism.
Are ZZ Plants Considered Lucky?
Some Feng Shui experts believe ZZ plants can lead to prosperity. Therefore, they may be considered lucky plants.
How Long Do ZZ Plants Live For?
ZZ plants can leave for upwards of ten years as long as you provide the proper care. Fortunately, these plants can survive a bit of neglect.
Are ZZ Plants Toxic?
ZZ plants contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that can cause irritation upon ingestion. However, if your pets eat these plants, they will likely only experience minor symptoms.
The Final Word
The ZZ plant is an easy-to-care-for and beautiful plant. Its upward-facing leaves symbolize growth and prosperity, and its durable nature may help bring stability into your own life.
Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.